I started going to SF/F conventions many moons ago, when the earth was flat and computers were made of wood, as my buddy Chris always said. I was 18, I’d always been a geek, a little socially awkward, and into SF/F. My room-mate at the time was really into Cons, and convinced me to drive her to a little October convention called Dreamcon, which is a sadly defunct Pacific Northwest convention.
I was enraptured. People wore awesome costumes. A guy I’d met at an SCA event earlier that year (it was my year of True Geek) was there dressed as one of the mobile aliens from Aliens. He’d hand-crafted the entire costume himself, and as we danced kept wapping me in the head with the head of it, because he’d forget how long it was and turn his head to tell me things. He later sold that costume for a ludicrous amount of money. People were proudly nerdy. But the best part was the conversation.
For the first time in my life I could have conversations without long, awkward pauses because I’d either said something incredibly nerdy, or because I’d started using words the person I was talking to didn’t understand. This was a convention center full of people who totally got it when I started talking about Lovecraft, Asimov, knew who Manly Wade Wellman was, really enjoyed Anne MacCaffrey.
I was home.
Fandom was home.
And I lost that home for awhile because I burned out running conventions, including being part of the founding concom for the ill-fated LepraCon in Wenatchee, WA. The Geek Husband What Rules found ourselves nearly at the point of divorcing during our last year with Rustycon because of the stress levels involved with running that particular convention that particular year. So we walked away for several years.
Four or five years ago, a friend of mine was running a programming track at Norwescon and asked if I’d help her with it, and do panels. I said yes, and the next two years or so after that, I ran a track, then I took a year off and just did panels. I’ve done panels for the last several years and I’m really glad we got back into it.
The first few years were a little awkward, I think the GHWR and I were keeping our distance in case the shit hit the fan again. But this year we let fandom pull us back into its loving embrace, and it’s good. It’s very, very good. I remembered this year the joy I felt all those years ago walking into that first Dreamcon. Sitting on the steps of the smoking deck with the GHWR, some awesome new friends, my sister, and one of my oldest friends, with my arms around her while we told stories and laughed, I remembered why I loved fandom so much so fast.
You guys are my home. You are my people, and I love you. I love the people who brought me into it. I love the people who thought I had something to contribute. I love the friends who are here and the ones who are gone. And I love the friends I haven’t met yet.
I have never left a convention without having made at least one new friend. Ever.